Here are some of the M.E. related projects I have been working on recently.
At my job as an engineer, prototyping is one of the most important things we do. Being able to design a part and have that part physically sitting in front of you within a couple hours is an amazing ability. 3D printing has changed how the world views production and being able to work with 3D printers is one of the most useful skills to have.
I've always been aware of Frank Lloyd Wright's work and his amazing creativity but it wasn't until I visited Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin that I really fell in love with his work. He was the king of combining looks with functionality. One of his creations that really caught my eye was a lamp he had located in a few corners of the house. I built a replica of my own and I its easily my favorite piece of furniture.
SAE Formula Intake Manifold
During college, I participated in our school Society of Automotive Engineers club. One year I was in charge of the intake system and that required designing a complete intake manifold. We used SolidWorks to design and run CFD testing on it before we eventually got it 3D printed. The CFD helped us ensure a smooth transition of flow from the throttle body to the plennum and eventually into the runners.
This is the motorcycle I have been building for a couple years. It started out at a 1981 CB750, the first year of the DOHC and considered to be one of the first superbikes. I rode it around for a little while before deciding to do something fun with it. Almost everything is going to be custom except for the front half of the frame. I welded my own hardtail section to the back, I'm making my own seat, my own gas tank, my own battery tray, everything.
Chicago is a wonderful place for theatre and I have had the joy of building several theatre sets over the last few years. One company I work with a lot is New Millennium Theatre Company. The last show they put on was a mix between The Hobbit and Die Hard, appropriately named "Old Hobbits Die Hard". Theatre sets are some of the most fun to build because of the building challenges often associated with them: low budget, tight space, multi-use sets, and just plain uniqueness. Where else would you find a hobbit hole that turns into a bar?
SAE Mini Baja
I was an active member of the UIC Society of Automotive Engineers team. I designed the jig to build this frame in my senior year and had the privilege of driving the car across the finish line in the national competition in Maryland. Being a part of this society taught me far more than any classroom could have. I learned to design and test in the real world. We worked with sponsors and vendors, sourced parts and had a lot of parts custom machined just for us. I learned to MIG and TIG weld as well as expand on a lot of the automotive skills I gained by working on cars since before I could drive. I learned what worked, what didn't work, and what to do about it. It was my first good look at what engineering really was.
Throughout my engineering classes and several internships, I got very good using different kinds of CAD software. We used primarily SolidWorks in SAE but learned Pro-E in the classroom. I used AutoCAD at one of my internships and Inventor at another. At my current job, I do a lot of custom design so I work pretty heavily in Inventor. Even better, after I design a part, depending on it's complexity, I am often the one to machine it. This helps me to quickly learn from my mistakes. Every day I'm getting better at what I do.